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Says farmers apprehensionsmisplaced
Faced with idle manpower,machinery and resources, as well as non-utilisation of capacity at the KochiLNG terminal, GAIL (India) has asked the Tamil Nadu Government for help inimplementing the Kochi-Kottanad-Mangalore-Bangalore gas pipeline project.
A few days ago, the company wroteto the State Government seeking support for settling the misplacedapprehensions of the farming community in Tamil Nadu. The network willpass through seven districts of Tamil Nadu, and farmers fear loss in agriculturalproduction due to the laying of pipelines.
MATERIAL, MANPOWER UNUSED
Sources directly involved withthe issue said the project was unable to make substantial progress even after athree-day public hearing held at Chennai from March 6, several other meetingsand 14 months of sustained efforts.
Pipes and other materials worthRs 1,100 crore have already arrived at the site and the support system, such ascamps, vehicles, machinery and manpower were being maintained withoutsignificant progress, the company said.
Out of 310 km in Tamil Nadu, thecompany has been able to carry out recording of only 25 per cent crops and landgrading (grading in civil engineering and construction work to ensure a levelbase) stands at around 18 per cent.
The stringing of pipes has beendone for a length of around 35 km.
LNG CAPACITY UNUTILISED
The company said idling ofmanpower, machinery and resources was causing a huge loss in addition tonon-utilisation of Petronet LNGs terminal capacity at Kochi. Theterminal was scheduled for commissioning this month.
But, considering the currentsituation, this is being pushed back. Utilisation of gas by consumers andcities was also getting delayed, it added.
The project was awarded to GAILon January 12, 2012. Subsequently, there was resistance from farmers, whofeared future loss of agricultural production because of the pipeline, anotherofficial said.
GAIL has been operating 270 km ofgas pipelines in the Southern districts of Tamil Nadu in the past 15 yearswithout causing any problems to the farmers and agriculture, he said, and addedthat experience had shown that rice, tomato, potato, sugarcane, banana, ragi,corn, flowers can all be grown on land under which pipelines run.
On concerns over theinterpretation of the recent Amendment to Petroleum & Minerals PipelinesAct (to prevent pilferage/sabotage of petroleum products), the official said itheld only for individuals caught red-handed with product and tools and would inno way hold the landowner accountable. The amended Act does not enforcesecurity/watchman duty on the land owners.
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